Festival of Percussive Dance | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Festival of Percussive Dance

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Flamenco dancer Manolo Rivera rivets your attention to his feet. He's a marvel of clarity and, whether he slows the speed to the soft pat of a toe or heel and the merest whisper of a sound or speeds it up to a bullet-fast ricochet of steps, each flicker of movement clearly makes an individual sound. You actually see him making music with his feet. Rivera doing a farruca live, a treat I have witnessed a number of times when he's appeared with the Ensemble Espanol's annual American Spanish Dance Festival, Is a tour de force of crisp, precise footwork. Also on the lineup of this dance showcase, sponsored by the Old Town School of Folk Music, is Appalachian-style clog dancer Ira Bernstein, whose boundless, flashy energy makes you realize how exciting clogging can be--especially when it's done at breakneck speed. Bernstein, who has studied with tap legends Sandman Sims and Honi Coles, has performed with Brenda Bufalino's superb American Tap Dance Orchestra in New York, where he was always a standout. Then there's Liam Harney, a two-time world championship winner in Irish step dancing, a versatile virtuoso who's equally comfortable performing in the folk traditions and ballet, landing smoothly and precisely every time. Finally, Jimmy Slyde protege Herbin Van Cayseele will show off the precise, upbeat moves of jazz tapping. As his teacher Sarah Petronio, another of Jimmy Slyde's colleagues, says, "Cayseele can really swing." Friday at 8 at Centre East, 7701 N. Lincoln, Skokie; $15-$20, call 708-673-6300 for tickets.

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